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This blog originally appeared on the Healthy Driven Chicago website.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, it continues to be something many people are hesitant to discuss. For young adults 15 to 34 years of age, suicide is the third leading cause of death in Illinois. It is a serious but preventable public health concern that has lasting effects on individuals, families and communities.
Consider Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. People were shocked when it was announced these well-known celebrities died by suicide. To many of us, it seemed like they had it all and were thriving in life. But inside they were struggling. Both are examples of how suicide is a multifaceted problem. When it comes to suicide, no one is immune.
The stigma surrounding suicide may impact prevention and intervention efforts. Learning how to strengthen an individual’s protective factors that promote resiliency and use of coping skills, while simultaneously recognizing risk factors and imminent warning signs, is key. These factors all play a role:
Another important warning sign is making statements about wanting to hurt themselves or end their life. Warning signs are imminent and, once identified, action should be taken. A common misconception is that asking about suicide will put the idea in a person’s mind. The reality is that asking will not cause someone to take their life but could prevent it.
Letting someone know you’re concerned and that you’ve noticed behavior changes may help them confide in you and seek help. Be there with them and listen to what they need. If a person admits they are considering suicide, take immediate action. Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or call Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. Then stay with the person until help arrives.
Edward-Elmhurst Health is committed to raising awareness of suicide and taking steps to help prevent it. In 2017, we collaborated with the City of Naperville and community leaders on an awareness program – Road to Zero Suicides — which was funded through a social services grant. This program trained several hundred individuals in 2018, helping them to understand and recognize suicide warning signs and strengthen protective factors. This education will continue in 2019. We also offer Mental Health First Aid — a program designed to help community members learn how to address mental health crises, including suicide.
To assess your mental health risk, take our free online health assessments. To sign up for a Mental Health First Aid course, visit us online or call 630-305-5500.
Find support at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.
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